Publications by authors named "Rafael Rodriguez-Mercado"

37 Publications

Stereotactic radiosurgery with versus without prior Onyx embolization for brain arteriovenous malformations.

J Neurosurg 2020 Dec 11:1-9. Epub 2020 Dec 11.

14Department of Neurosurgery, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Objective: Investigations of the combined effects of neoadjuvant Onyx embolization and stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) on brain arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) have not accounted for initial angioarchitectural features prior to neuroendovascular intervention. The aim of this retrospective, multicenter matched cohort study is to compare the outcomes of SRS with versus without upfront Onyx embolization for AVMs using de novo characteristics of the preembolized nidus.

Methods: The International Radiosurgery Research Foundation AVM databases from 1987 to 2018 were retrospectively reviewed. Patients were categorized based on AVM treatment approach into Onyx embolization (OE) and SRS (OE+SRS) or SRS alone (SRS-only) cohorts and then propensity score matched in a 1:1 ratio. The primary outcome was AVM obliteration. Secondary outcomes were post-SRS hemorrhage, all-cause mortality, radiological and symptomatic radiation-induced changes (RICs), and cyst formation. Comparisons were analyzed using crude rates and cumulative probabilities adjusted for competing risk of death.

Results: The matched OE+SRS and SRS-only cohorts each comprised 53 patients. Crude rates (37.7% vs 47.2% for the OE+SRS vs SRS-only cohorts, respectively; OR 0.679, p = 0.327) and cumulative probabilities at 3, 4, 5, and 6 years (33.7%, 44.1%, 57.5%, and 65.7% for the OE+SRS cohort vs 34.8%, 45.5%, 59.0%, and 67.1% for the SRS-only cohort, respectively; subhazard ratio 0.961, p = 0.896) of AVM obliteration were similar between the matched cohorts. The secondary outcomes of the matched cohorts were also similar. Asymptomatic and symptomatic embolization-related complication rates in the matched OE+SRS cohort were 18.9% and 9.4%, respectively.

Conclusions: Pre-SRS AVM embolization with Onyx does not appear to negatively influence outcomes after SRS. These analyses, based on de novo nidal characteristics, thereby refute previous studies that found detrimental effects of Onyx embolization on SRS-induced AVM obliteration. However, given the risks incurred by nidal embolization using Onyx, this neoadjuvant intervention should be used judiciously in multimodal treatment strategies involving SRS for appropriately selected large-volume or angioarchitecturally high-risk AVMs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2020.7.JNS201731DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8192588PMC
December 2020

Stereotactic Radiosurgery With Versus Without Embolization for Brain Arteriovenous Malformations.

Neurosurgery 2021 01;88(2):313-321

Department of Neurosurgery, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Background: Prior comparisons of brain arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) treated using stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) with or without embolization were inherently flawed, due to differences in the pretreatment nidus volumes.

Objective: To compare the outcomes of embolization and SRS, vs SRS alone for AVMs using pre-embolization malformation features.

Methods: We retrospectively reviewed International Radiosurgery Research Foundation AVM databases from 1987 to 2018. Patients were categorized into the embolization and SRS (E + SRS) or SRS alone (SRS-only) cohorts. The 2 cohorts were matched in a 1:1 ratio using propensity scores. Primary outcome was defined as AVM obliteration. Secondary outcomes were post-SRS hemorrhage, all-cause mortality, radiologic and symptomatic radiation-induced changes (RIC), and cyst formation.

Results: The matched cohorts each comprised 101 patients. Crude AVM obliteration rates were similar between the matched E + SRS vs SRS-only cohorts (48.5% vs 54.5%; odds ratio = 0.788, P = .399). Cumulative probabilities of obliteration at 3, 4, 5, and 6 yr were also similar between the E + SRS (33.0%, 46.4%, 56.2%, and 60.8%, respectively) and SRS-only (32.9%, 46.2%, 56.0%, and 60.6%, respectively) cohorts (subhazard ratio (SHR) = 1.005, P = .981). Cumulative probabilities of radiologic RIC at 3, 4, 5, and 6 yr were lower in the E + SRS (25.0%, 25.7%, 26.7%, and 26.7%, respectively) vs SRS-only (45.3%, 46.2%, 47.8%, and 47.8%, respectively) cohort (SHR = 0.478, P = .004). Symptomatic and asymptomatic embolization-related complication rates were 8.3% and 18.6%, respectively. Rates of post-SRS hemorrhage, all-cause mortality, symptomatic RIC, and cyst formation were similar between the matched cohorts.

Conclusion: This study refutes the prevalent notion that AVM embolization negatively affects the likelihood of obliteration after SRS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/neuros/nyaa418DOI Listing
January 2021

Embolization of Brain Arteriovenous Malformations With Versus Without Onyx Before Stereotactic Radiosurgery.

Neurosurgery 2021 01;88(2):366-374

Department of Neurosurgery, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Background: Embolization of brain arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) using ethylene-vinyl alcohol copolymer (Onyx) embolization may influence the treatment effects of stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) differently than other embolysates.

Objective: To compare the outcomes of pre-SRS AVM embolization with vs without Onyx through a multicenter, retrospective matched cohort study.

Methods: We retrospectively reviewed International Radiosurgery Research Foundation AVM databases from 1987 to 2018. Embolized AVMs treated with SRS were selected and categorized based on embolysate usage into Onyx embolization (OE + SRS) or non-Onyx embolization (NOE + SRS) cohorts. The 2 cohorts were matched in a 1:1 ratio using de novo AVM features for comparative analysis of outcomes.

Results: The matched cohorts each comprised 45 patients. Crude AVM obliteration rates were similar between the matched OE + SRS vs NOE + SRS cohorts (47% vs 51%; odds ratio [OR] = 0.837, P = .673). Cumulative probabilities of obliteration were also similar between the OE + SRS vs NOE + SRS cohorts (subhazard ratio = 0.992, P = .980). Rates of post-SRS hemorrhage, all-cause mortality, radiation-induced changes, cyst formation, and embolization-associated complications were similar between the matched cohorts. Sensitivity analysis for AVMs in the OE + SRS cohort embolized with Onyx alone revealed a higher rate of asymptomatic embolization-associated complications in this subgroup compared to the NOE + SRS cohort (36% vs 15%; OR = 3.297, P = .034), but the symptomatic complication rates were similar.

Conclusion: Nidal embolization using Onyx does not appear to differentially impact the outcomes of AVM SRS compared with non-Onyx embolysates. The embolic agent selected for pre-SRS AVM embolization should reflect both the experience of the neurointerventionalist and target of endovascular intervention.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/neuros/nyaa370DOI Listing
January 2021

Dose response and architecture in volume staged radiosurgery for large arteriovenous malformations: A multi-institutional study.

Radiother Oncol 2020 03 10;144:180-188. Epub 2019 Dec 10.

University of California - San Francisco School of Medicine, Department of Neurosurgery, United States.

Background: Optimal treatment paradigm for large arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) is controversial. Volume-staged stereotactic radiosurgery (VS-SRS) provides an effective option for these high-risk lesions, but optimizing treatment for these recalcitrant and rare lesions has proven difficult.

Methods: This is a multi-centered retrospective review of patients treated with a planned prospective volume staging approach to stereotactically treat the entire nidus of an AVM with volume stages separated by intervals of 3-6 months. A total of 9 radiosurgical centers treated 257 patients with VS-SRS between 1991 and 2016. We evaluated near complete response (nCR), obliteration, cure, and overall survival.

Results: With a median age of 33 years old at the time of first SRS volume stage, patients received 2-4 total volume stages and a median follow up of 5.7 years after VS-SRS. The median total AVM nidus volume was 23.25 cc (range: 7.7-94.4 cc) with a median margin dose per stage of 17 Gy (range: 12-20 Gy). Total AVM volume, margin dose per stage, compact nidus, lack of prior embolization, and lack of thalamic location involvement were all associated with improved outcomes. Dose >/= 17.5 Gy was strongly associated with improved rates of nCR, obliteration, and cure. With dose >/= 17.5 Gy, 5- and 10-year cure rates were 33.7% and 76.8% in evaluable patients compared to 23.7% and 34.7% of patients with 17 Gy and 6.4% and 20.6% with <17 Gy per volume-stage (p = 0.004). Obliteration rates in diffuse nidus architecture with <17 Gy were particularly poor with none achieving obliteration compared to 32.3% with doses >/= 17 Gy at 5 years (p = 0.007). Comparatively, lesions with a compact nidus architecture exhibited obliteration rates at 5 years were 10.7% vs 9.3% vs 26.6% for dose >17 Gy vs 17 Gy vs >/=17.5 Gy.

Conclusion: VS-SRS is an option for upfront treatment of large AVMs. Higher dose was associated with improved rates of nCR, obliteration, and cure suggesting that larger volumetric responses may facilitate salvage therapy and optimize the chance for cure.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.radonc.2019.09.019DOI Listing
March 2020

A Proposed Grading Scale for Predicting Outcomes After Stereotactic Radiosurgery for Dural Arteriovenous Fistulas.

Neurosurgery 2020 08;87(2):247-255

Department of Neurological Surgery, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia.

Background: There are presently no grading scales that specifically address the outcomes of cranial dural arteriovenous fistula (dAVF) after stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS).

Objective: To design a practical grading system that would predict outcomes after SRS for cranial dAVFs.

Methods: From the International Radiosurgery Research Foundation (University of Pittsburgh [41 patients], University of Pennsylvania [6 patients], University of Sherbrooke [2 patients], University of Manitoba [1 patient], West Virginia University [2 patients], University of Puerto Rico [1 patient], Beaumont Health System 1 [patient], Na Homolce Hospital [13 patients], the University of Virginia [48 patients], and Yale University [6 patients]) centers, 120 patients with dAVF treated with SRS were included in the study. The factors predicting favorable outcome (obliteration without post-SRS hemorrhage) after SRS were assessed using logistic regression analysis. These factors were pooled with the factors that were found to be predictive of obliteration from 7 studies with 736 patients after a systematic review of literature. These were entered into stepwise multiple regression and the best-fit model was identified.

Results: Based on the predictive model, 3 factors emerged to develop an SRS scoring system: cortical venous reflux (CVR), prior intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH), and noncavernous sinus location. Class I (score of 0-1 points) predicted the best favorable outcome of 80%. Class II patients (2 points score) had an intermediate favorable outcome of 57%, and class III (score 3 points) had the least favorable outcome at 37%. The ROC analysis showed better predictability to prevailing grading systems (AUC = 0.69; P = .04). Kaplan-Meier analysis showed statistically significant difference between the 3 subclasses of the proposed grading system for post-SRS dAVF obliteration (P = .001).

Conclusion: The proposed dAVF grading system incorporates angiographic, anatomic, and clinical parameters and improves the prediction of the outcomes following SRS for dAVF as compared to the existing scoring systems.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/neuros/nyz401DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7528658PMC
August 2020

Stereotactic Radiosurgery for Cavernous Sinus Versus Noncavernous Sinus Dural Arteriovenous Fistulas: Outcomes and Outcome Predictors.

Neurosurgery 2020 05;86(5):676-684

Department of Neurological Surgery, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia.

Background: Dural arteriovenous fistulas (DAVFs) can be categorized based on location.

Objective: To compare stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) outcomes between cavernous sinus (CS) and non-CS DAVFs and to identify respective outcome predictors.

Methods: This is a retrospective study of DAVFs treated with SRS between 1988 and 2016 at 10 institutions. Patients' variables, DAVF characters, and SRS parameters were included for analyses. Favorable clinical outcome was defined as angiography-confirmed obliteration without radiological radiation-induced changes (RIC) or post-SRS hemorrhage. Other outcomes were DAVFs obliteration and adverse events (including RIC, symptomatic RIC, and post-SRS hemorrhage).

Results: The overall study cohort comprised 131 patients, including 20 patients with CS DAVFs (15%) and 111 patients with non-CS DAVFs (85%). Rates of favorable clinical outcome were comparable between the 2 groups (45% vs 37%, P = .824). Obliteration rate after SRS was higher in the CS DAVFs group, even adjusted for baseline difference (OR = 4.189, P = .044). Predictors of favorable clinical outcome included higher maximum dose (P = .014) for CS DAVFs. Symptomatic improvement was associated with obliteration in non-CS DAVFs (P = .005), but symptoms improved regardless of whether obliteration was confirmed in CS DAVFs. Non-CS DAVFs patients with adverse events after SRS were more likely to be male (P = .020), multiple arterial feeding fistulas (P = .018), and lower maximum dose (P = .041).

Conclusion: After SRS, CS DAVFs are more likely to obliterate than non-CS ones. Because these 2 groups have different total predictors for clinical and radiologic outcomes after SRS, they should be considered as different entities.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/neuros/nyz260DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7317986PMC
May 2020

Risk of Brain Arteriovenous Malformation Hemorrhage Before and After Stereotactic Radiosurgery.

Stroke 2019 06 2;50(6):1384-1391. Epub 2019 May 2.

From the Department of Neurosurgery, University of Louisville, KY (D.D.).

Background and Purpose- Understanding the hemorrhage risks associated with brain arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) before and after stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) is important. The aims of this multicenter, retrospective cohort study are to evaluate and compare the rates of pre- and post-SRS AVM hemorrhage and identify risk factors. Methods- We pooled AVM SRS data from 8 institutions participating in the International Radiosurgery Research Foundation. Predictors of post-SRS hemorrhage were determined using a multivariate logistic regression model. Pre- and post-SRS hemorrhage rates were compared using Fisher exact test. Ruptured and unruptured AVMs were matched in a 1:1 ratio using propensity scores, and their outcomes were compared. Results- The study cohort comprised 2320 AVM patients who underwent SRS. Deep AVM location (odds ratio, 1.86; 95% CI, 1.19-2.92; P=0.007), the presence of an AVM-associated arterial aneurysm (odds ratio, 2.44; 95% CI, 1.63-3.66; P<0.001), and lower SRS margin dose (odds ratio, 0.93; 95% CI, 0.88-0.98; P=0.005) were independent predictors of post-SRS hemorrhage. The post-SRS hemorrhage rate was lower for obliterated versus patent AVMs (6.0 versus 22.3 hemorrhages/1000 person-years; P<0.001). The AVM hemorrhage rate decreased from 15.4 hemorrhages/1000 person-years before SRS to 11.9 after SRS ( P=0.001). The outcomes of the matched ruptured versus unruptured AVM cohorts were similar. Conclusions- SRS appears to reduce the risk of AVM hemorrhage, although this effect is predominantly driven by obliteration. Deep-seated AVMs are more likely to rupture during the latency period after SRS. AVM-associated aneurysms should be considered for selective occlusion before SRS of the nidus to ameliorate the post-SRS hemorrhage rate of these lesions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/STROKEAHA.118.024230DOI Listing
June 2019

Hemorrhage risk of cerebral dural arteriovenous fistulas following Gamma Knife radiosurgery in a multicenter international consortium.

J Neurosurg 2019 Mar 15;132(4):1209-1217. Epub 2019 Mar 15.

2Department of Neurological Surgery, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia.

Objective: The authors performed a study to evaluate the hemorrhagic rates of cerebral dural arteriovenous fistulas (dAVFs) and the risk factors of hemorrhage following Gamma Knife radiosurgery (GKRS).

Methods: Data from a cohort of patients undergoing GKRS for cerebral dAVFs were compiled from the International Radiosurgery Research Foundation. The annual posttreatment hemorrhage rate was calculated as the number of hemorrhages divided by the patient-years at risk. Risk factors for dAVF hemorrhage prior to GKRS and during the latency period after radiosurgery were evaluated in a multivariate analysis.

Results: A total of 147 patients with dAVFs were treated with GKRS. Thirty-six patients (24.5%) presented with hemorrhage. dAVFs that had any cortical venous drainage (CVD) (OR = 3.8, p = 0.003) or convexity or torcula location (OR = 3.3, p = 0.017) were more likely to present with hemorrhage in multivariate analysis. Half of the patients had prior treatment (49.7%). Post-GRKS hemorrhage occurred in 4 patients, with an overall annual risk of 0.84% during the latency period. The annual risks of post-GKRS hemorrhage for Borden type 2-3 dAVFs and Borden type 2-3 hemorrhagic dAVFs were 1.45% and 0.93%, respectively. No hemorrhage occurred after radiological confirmation of obliteration. Independent predictors of hemorrhage following GKRS included nonhemorrhagic neural deficit presentation (HR = 21.6, p = 0.027) and increasing number of past endovascular treatments (HR = 1.81, p = 0.036).

Conclusions: Patients have similar rates of hemorrhage before and after radiosurgery until obliteration is achieved. dAVFs that have any CVD or are located in the convexity or torcula were more likely to present with hemorrhage. Patients presenting with nonhemorrhagic neural deficits and a history of endovascular treatments had higher risks of post-GKRS hemorrhage.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2018.12.JNS182208DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6745287PMC
March 2019

Seizure Presentation in Patients with Brain Arteriovenous Malformations Treated with Stereotactic Radiosurgery: A Multicenter Study.

World Neurosurg 2019 Jun 1;126:e634-e640. Epub 2019 Mar 1.

Department of Neurological Surgery, University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville, Virginia, USA. Electronic address:

Background: Seizures are the second most common clinical presentation in patients with brain arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) and the most common presentation of unruptured AVMs. The aim of the present multicenter, retrospective cohort study was to identify the predictors of seizure presentation in patients with AVM who had undergone stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS).

Methods: We performed a retrospective review of patients with AVM who had been treated with SRS at 8 participating International Radiosurgery Research Foundation sites. The patient and AVM characteristics were compared between those with and without seizure presentation in univariable and multivariable models. A subgroup analysis of patients with cortical AVMs was performed.

Results: The study cohort included 2333 patients with AVM, including 419 (18%) with and 1914 (82%) without a seizure presentation. Previous AVM resection (odds ratio [OR], 7.65; P = 0.001), a lack of previous AVM hemorrhage (OR, 0.004; P < 0.001), a cortical AVM location (OR, 1559.42; P < 0.001), a lower Spetzler-Martin grade (OR, 0.51; P = 0.007), and a higher Virginia radiosurgery AVM score (OR, 1.46; P = 0.008) were independent predictors of seizure presentation. The rate of seizure presentation in patients with cortical AVMs was 27%. Previous AVM resection (OR, 8.36; P < 0.001), a lack of previous AVM hemorrhage (OR, 0.004; P < 0.001), and temporal AVM location (OR, 4.15; P < 0.001) were independent predictors of seizure presentation for cortical AVMs.

Conclusion: We identified multiple factors associated with seizure presentation in patients with AVM to undergo SRS. Previous AVM resection, a cortical AVM location, and a lack of previous AVM hemorrhage were the strongest predictors of pre-SRS seizures. The Spetzler-Martin grade and Virginia radiosurgery AVM score might have a role in seizure risk stratification. For cortical AVMs, a temporal lobe location was predictive of seizure presentation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.wneu.2019.02.104DOI Listing
June 2019

A Propensity Score-Matched Cohort Analysis of Outcomes After Stereotactic Radiosurgery in Older versus Younger Patients with Dural Arteriovenous Fistula: An International Multicenter Study.

World Neurosurg 2019 05 18;125:e1114-e1124. Epub 2019 Feb 18.

Department of Neurological Surgery, University of Virginia, Virginia, USA. Electronic address:

Objective: This study aims to evaluate the outcomes of Gamma Knife stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) for dural arteriovenous fistulas (dAVFs) in older patients (≥65 years) compared with younger patients (age <65 years).

Methods: Two groups with a total of 96 patients were selected from a database of 133 patients with dAVF from 9 international medical centers with a minimum 6 months follow-up. A 1:2 propensity matching was performed by nearest-neighbor matching criteria based on sex, Borden grade, maximum radiation dose given, and location. The older cohort consisted of 32 patients and the younger cohort consisted of 64 patients. The mean overall follow-up in the combined cohort was 42.4 months (range, 6-210 months).

Results: In the older cohort, a transverse sinus location was found to significantly predict dAVF obliteration (P = 0.01). The post-SRS actuarial 3-year and 5-year obliteration rates were 47.7% and 78%, respectively. There were no cases of post-SRS hemorrhage. In the younger cohort, the cavernous sinus location was found to significantly predict obliteration (P = 0.005). The 3-year and 5-year actuarial obliteration rates were 56% and 70%, respectively. Five patients (7.8%) hemorrhaged after SRS. Margin dose ≥25 Gy was predictive of unfavorable outcome. The obliteration rate (P = 0.3), post-SRS hemorrhage rate (P = 0.16), and persistent symptoms after SRS (P = 0.83) were not statistically different between the 2 groups.

Conclusions: SRS achieves obliteration in most older patients with dAVF, with an acceptable rate of complication. There was no increased risk of postradiosurgery complications in the older cohort compared with the younger patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.wneu.2019.01.253DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6698438PMC
May 2019

Stereotactic radiosurgery for arteriovenous malformations of the basal ganglia and thalamus: an international multicenter study.

J Neurosurg 2019 01;132(1):122-131

1Department of Neurological Surgery, University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville, Virginia.

Objective: Arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) of the basal ganglia (BG) and thalamus are associated with elevated risks of both hemorrhage if left untreated and neurological morbidity after resection. Therefore, stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) has become a mainstay in the management of these lesions, although its safety and efficacy remain incompletely understood. The aim of this retrospective multicenter cohort study was to evaluate the outcomes of SRS for BG and thalamic AVMs and determine predictors of successful endpoints and adverse radiation effects.

Methods: The authors retrospectively reviewed data on patients with BG or thalamic AVMs who had undergone SRS at eight institutions participating in the International Gamma Knife Research Foundation (IGKRF) from 1987 to 2014. Favorable outcome was defined as AVM obliteration, no post-SRS hemorrhage, and no permanently symptomatic radiation-induced changes (RICs). Multivariable models were developed to identify independent predictors of outcome.

Results: The study cohort comprised 363 patients with BG or thalamic AVMs. The mean AVM volume and SRS margin dose were 3.8 cm3 and 20.7 Gy, respectively. The mean follow-up duration was 86.5 months. Favorable outcome was achieved in 58.5% of patients, including obliteration in 64.8%, with rates of post-SRS hemorrhage and permanent RIC in 11.3% and 5.6% of patients, respectively. Independent predictors of favorable outcome were no prior AVM embolization (p = 0.011), a higher margin dose (p = 0.008), and fewer isocenters (p = 0.044).

Conclusions: SRS is the preferred intervention for the majority of BG and thalamic AVMs. Patients with morphologically compact AVMs that have not been previously embolized are more likely to have a favorable outcome, which may be related to the use of a higher margin dose.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2018.8.JNS182106DOI Listing
January 2019

Evaluation of stereotactic radiosurgery for cerebral dural arteriovenous fistulas in a multicenter international consortium.

J Neurosurg 2019 01;132(1):114-121

2Department of Neurological Surgery, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia.

Objective: In this multicenter study, the authors reviewed the results obtained in patients who underwent Gamma Knife radiosurgery (GKRS) for dural arteriovenous fistulas (dAVFs) and determined predictors of outcome.

Methods: Data from a cohort of 114 patients who underwent GKRS for cerebral dAVFs were compiled from the International Gamma Knife Research Foundation. Favorable outcome was defined as dAVF obliteration and no posttreatment hemorrhage or permanent symptomatic radiation-induced complications. Patient and dAVF characteristics were assessed to determine predictors of outcome in a multivariate logistic regression analysis; dAVF-free obliteration was calculated in a competing-risk survival analysis; and Youden indices were used to determine optimal radiosurgical dose.

Results: A mean margin dose of 21.8 Gy was delivered. The mean follow-up duration was 4 years (range 0.5-18 years). The overall obliteration rate was 68.4%. The postradiosurgery actuarial rates of obliteration at 3, 5, 7, and 10 years were 41.3%, 61.1%, 70.1%, and 82.0%, respectively. Post-GRKS hemorrhage occurred in 4 patients (annual risk of 0.9%). Radiation-induced imaging changes occurred in 10.4% of patients; 5.2% were symptomatic, and 3.5% had permanent deficits. Favorable outcome was achieved in 63.2% of patients. Patients with middle fossa and tentorial dAVFs (OR 2.4, p = 0.048) and those receiving a margin dose greater than 23 Gy (OR 2.6, p = 0.030) were less likely to achieve a favorable outcome. Commonly used grading scales (e.g., Borden and Cognard) were not predictive of outcome. Female sex (OR 1.7, p = 0.03), absent venous ectasia (OR 3.4, p < 0.001), and cavernous carotid location (OR 2.1, p = 0.019) were predictors of GKRS-induced dAVF obliteration.

Conclusions: GKRS for cerebral dAVFs achieved obliteration and avoided permanent complications in the majority of patients. Those with cavernous carotid location and no venous ectasia were more likely to have fistula obliteration following radiosurgery. Commonly used grading scales were not reliable predictors of outcome following radiosurgery.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2018.8.JNS181467DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6609496PMC
January 2019

Effect of Advanced Age on Stereotactic Radiosurgery Outcomes for Brain Arteriovenous Malformations: A Multicenter Matched Cohort Study.

World Neurosurg 2018 Nov 30;119:e429-e440. Epub 2018 Jul 30.

Department of Neurological Surgery, University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville, Virginia, USA.

Background: The effect of age on adult brain arteriovenous malformation (AVM) outcomes after stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) remains unclear. The aim of this study is to compare AVM outcomes between elderly (age ≥60 years) and nonelderly adult patients.

Methods: We retrospectively reviewed pooled data comprising patients who underwent SRS for AVMs between 1987 and 2014 at 8 centers participating in the International Gamma Knife Research Foundation. Adult (age ≥18 years) patients with ≥12 months follow-up were dichotomized into elderly and nonelderly cohorts, and matched in a 1:1 ratio. Favorable outcome was AVM obliteration without permanent symptomatic radiation-induced changes (RIC) or post-SRS hemorrhage.

Results: The study cohort consisted of 1845 patients (188 elderly vs. 1657 nonelderly) who met the inclusion criteria, and subsequent matching resulted in 181 patients in each cohort. In the matched cohorts, rates of obliteration (54.7% vs. 64.6%; P = 0.054) favorable outcome (51.4% vs. 61.3%; P = 0.056) were no different between the elderly and nonelderly cohorts. The rates of post-SRS hemorrhage (9.9% vs. 5.5%; P = 0.115), RIC (26.5% vs. 30.9%; P = 0.353), symptomatic RIC (9.4% vs. 9.4%; P = 1.000), and permanent symptomatic RIC (3.3% vs. 2.2%; P = 0.750) were also not significantly different between the elderly and nonelderly cohorts. Elderly patients with AVM did have a significantly higher rate of all-cause mortality (27.7% vs. 5.5%; P < 0.001).

Conclusions: Advanced age does not seem to significantly affect obliteration or complication rates after SRS for AVMs. Although the decision to recommend intervention for AVMs in the elderly population is multifactorial, SRS may be a viable modality when treatment is deemed appropriate.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.wneu.2018.07.178DOI Listing
November 2018

Stereotactic Radiosurgery for Pediatric Versus Adult Brain Arteriovenous Malformations.

Stroke 2018 08;49(8):1939-1945

From the Department of Neurological Surgery, University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville (C.-J.C., J.P.S.).

Background and Purpose- The aim of this international, multicenter, retrospective matched cohort study is to directly compare the outcomes after stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) for brain arteriovenous malformations (AVM) in pediatric versus adult patients. Methods- We performed a retrospective review of patients with AVM who underwent SRS at 8 institutions participating in the International Gamma Knife Research Foundation from 1987 to 2014. Patients were categorized into pediatric (<18 years of age) and adult (≥18 years of age) cohorts and matched in a 1:1 ratio using propensity scores. Favorable outcome was defined as AVM obliteration, no post-SRS hemorrhage, and no permanently symptomatic radiation-induced changes. Results- From a total of 2191 patients who were eligible for inclusion in the overall study cohort, 315 were selected for each of the matched cohorts. There were no significant differences between matched pediatric versus adult cohorts with respect to the rates of favorable outcome (59% versus 58%; P=0.936), AVM obliteration (62% versus 63%; P=0.934), post-SRS hemorrhage (9% versus 7%; P=0.298), radiological radiation-induced changes (26% versus 26%; P=0.837), symptomatic radiation-induced changes (7% versus 9%; P=0.383), or permanent radiation-induced changes (2% versus 3%; P=0.589). The all-cause mortality rate was significantly lower in the matched pediatric cohort (3% versus 10%; P=0.003). Conclusions- The outcomes after SRS for comparable AVMs in pediatric versus adult patients were not found to be appreciably different. SRS remains a reasonable treatment option for appropriately selected pediatric patients with AVM, who harbor a high cumulative lifetime hemorrhage risk. Age seems to be a poor predictor of AVM outcomes after SRS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/STROKEAHA.118.022052DOI Listing
August 2018

Effect of treatment period on outcomes after stereotactic radiosurgery for brain arteriovenous malformations: an international multicenter study.

J Neurosurg 2018 Jan 1:1-10. Epub 2018 Jan 1.

1Department of Neurosurgery, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia.

OBJECTIVEThe role of and technique for stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) in the management of arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) have evolved over the past four decades. The aim of this multicenter, retrospective cohort study was to compare the SRS outcomes of AVMs treated during different time periods.METHODSThe authors selected patients with AVMs who underwent single-session SRS at 8 different centers from 1988 to 2014 with follow-up ≥ 6 months. The SRS eras were categorized as early (1988-2000) or modern (2001-2014). Statistical analyses were performed to compare the baseline characteristics and outcomes of the early versus modern SRS eras. Favorable outcome was defined as AVM obliteration, no post-SRS hemorrhage, and no permanently symptomatic radiation-induced changes (RICs).RESULTSThe study cohort comprised 2248 patients with AVMs, including 1584 in the early and 664 in the modern SRS eras. AVMs in the early SRS era were significantly smaller (p < 0.001 for maximum diameter and volume), and they were treated with a significantly higher radiosurgical margin dose (p < 0.001). The obliteration rate was significantly higher in the early SRS era (65% vs 51%, p < 0.001), and earlier SRS treatment period was an independent predictor of obliteration in the multivariate analysis (p < 0.001). The rates of post-SRS hemorrhage and radiological, symptomatic, and permanent RICs were not significantly different between the two groups. Favorable outcome was achieved in a significantly higher proportion of patients in the early SRS era (61% vs 45%, p < 0.001), but the earlier SRS era was not statistically significant in the multivariate analysis (p = 0.470) with favorable outcome.CONCLUSIONSDespite considerable advances in SRS technology, refinement of AVM selection, and contemporary multimodality AVM treatment, the study failed to observe substantial improvements in SRS favorable outcomes or obliteration for patients with AVMs over time. Differences in baseline AVM characteristics and SRS treatment parameters may partially account for the significantly lower obliteration rates in the modern SRS era. However, improvements in patient selection and dose planning are necessary to optimize the utility of SRS in the contemporary management of AVMs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2017.8.JNS171336DOI Listing
January 2018

A rare case of a vertebrojugular arteriovenous fistula: A case report and review of literature.

J Craniovertebr Junction Spine 2017 Jul-Sep;8(3):268-270

Department of Surgery, Neurosurgery Section, University of Puerto Rico Medical Sciences Campus, San Juan, PR 00936.

Vertebrojugular fistulas have been described in the literature associated with blunt or penetrating injury and iatrogenic or spontaneous development. Its presentation may be broad and may include symptoms of radiculopathy, vertebrobasilar insufficiency, tinnitus, and bruit. However, so far, no direct cardiac complications had been reported. Here, we describe a case of an 86-year-old female who suffered a C5 vertebral fracture secondary to a ground-level fall that was initially treated conservatively due to the onset of new severe atrial fibrillation. However, the patient was later on taken to surgery due to progressive neurologic deterioration. Intraoperative complications led to the diagnosis of a vertebral-jugular fistula that was successfully embolized. The effective obliteration of the fistulae led to the recovery of both neurologic and cardiac symptoms.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4103/jcvjs.JCVJS_49_17DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5634114PMC
October 2017

Stereotactic radiosurgery for Spetzler-Martin Grade IV and V arteriovenous malformations: an international multicenter study.

J Neurosurg 2018 08 8;129(2):498-507. Epub 2017 Sep 8.

1Department of Neurosurgery, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia.

OBJECTIVE Due to the complexity of Spetzler-Martin (SM) Grade IV-V arteriovenous malformations (AVMs), the management of these lesions remains controversial. The aims of this multicenter, retrospective cohort study were to evaluate the outcomes after single-session stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) for SM Grade IV-V AVMs and determine predictive factors. METHODS The authors retrospectively pooled data from 233 patients (mean age 33 years) with SM Grade IV (94.4%) or V AVMs (5.6%) treated with single-session SRS at 8 participating centers in the International Gamma Knife Research Foundation. Pre-SRS embolization was performed in 71 AVMs (30.5%). The mean nidus volume, SRS margin dose, and follow-up duration were 9.7 cm, 17.3 Gy, and 84.5 months, respectively. Statistical analyses were performed to identify factors associated with post-SRS outcomes. RESULTS At a mean follow-up interval of 84.5 months, favorable outcome was defined as AVM obliteration, no post-SRS hemorrhage, and no permanently symptomatic radiation-induced changes (RIC) and was achieved in 26.2% of patients. The actuarial obliteration rates at 3, 7, 10, and 12 years were 15%, 34%, 37%, and 42%, respectively. The annual post-SRS hemorrhage rate was 3.0%. Symptomatic and permanent RIC occurred in 10.7% and 4% of the patients, respectively. Only larger AVM diameter (p = 0.04) was found to be an independent predictor of unfavorable outcome in the multivariate logistic regression analysis. The rate of favorable outcome was significantly lower for unruptured SM Grade IV-V AVMs compared with ruptured ones (p = 0.042). Prior embolization was a negative independent predictor of AVM obliteration (p = 0.024) and radiologically evident RIC (p = 0.05) in the respective multivariate analyses. CONCLUSIONS In this multi-institutional study, single-session SRS had limited efficacy in the management of SM Grade IV-V AVMs. Favorable outcome was only achieved in a minority of unruptured SM Grade IV-V AVMs, which supports less frequent utilization of SRS for the management of these lesions. A volume-staged SRS approach for large AVMs represents an alternative approach for high-grade AVMs, but it requires further investigation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2017.3.JNS162635DOI Listing
August 2018

Radiosurgery for Unruptured Brain Arteriovenous Malformations: An International Multicenter Retrospective Cohort Study.

Neurosurgery 2017 Jun;80(6):888-898

Department of Neurosurgery, Uni-versity of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia.

Background: The role of intervention in the management of unruptured brain arteriovenous malformations (AVM) is controversial.

Objective: To analyze in a multicenter, retrospective cohort study, the outcomes following radiosurgery for unruptured AVMs and determine predictive factors.

Methods: We evaluated and pooled AVM radiosurgery data from 8 institutions participating in the International Gamma Knife Research Foundation. Patients with unruptured AVMs and ≥12 mo of follow-up were included in the study cohort. Favorable outcome was defined as AVM obliteration, no postradiosurgical hemorrhage, and no permanently symptomatic radiation-induced changes.

Results: The unruptured AVM cohort comprised 938 patients with a median age of 35 yr. The median nidus volume was 2.4 cm 3 , 71% of AVMs were located in eloquent brain areas, and the Spetzler-Martin grade was III or higher in 57%. The median radiosurgical margin dose was 21 Gy and follow-up was 71 mo. AVM obliteration was achieved in 65%. The annual postradiosurgery hemorrhage rate was 1.4%. Symptomatic and permanent radiation-induced changes occurred in 9% and 3%, respectively. Favorable outcome was achieved in 61%. In the multivariate logistic regression analysis, smaller AVM maximum diameter ( P = .001), the absence of AVM-associated arterial aneurysms ( P = .001), and higher margin dose ( P = .002) were found to be independent predictors of a favorable outcome. A margin dose ≥ 20 Gy yielded a significantly higher rate of favorable outcome (70% vs 36%; P < .001).

Conclusion: Radiosurgery affords an acceptable risk to benefit profile for patients harboring unruptured AVMs. These findings justify further prospective studies comparing radiosurgical intervention to conservative management for unruptured AVMs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/neuros/nyx181DOI Listing
June 2017

Stereotactic Radiosurgery for ARUBA (A Randomized Trial of Unruptured Brain Arteriovenous Malformations)-Eligible Spetzler-Martin Grade I and II Arteriovenous Malformations: A Multicenter Study.

World Neurosurg 2017 Jun 23;102:507-517. Epub 2017 Mar 23.

Department of Neurosurgery, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia, USA. Electronic address:

Objective: ARUBA (A Randomized Trial of Unruptured Brain Arteriovenous Malformations) found better short-term outcomes after conservative management compared with intervention for unruptured arteriovenous malformations (AVMs). However, because Spetzler-Martin (SM) grade I-II AVMs have the lowest treatment morbidity, sufficient follow-up of these lesions may show a long-term benefit from intervention. The aim of this multicenter, retrospective cohort study is to assess the outcomes after stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) for ARUBA-eligible SM grade I-II AVMs.

Methods: We pooled SRS data for patients with AVM from 7 institutions and selected ARUBA-eligible SM grade I-II AVMs with ≥12 months follow-up for analysis. Favorable outcome was defined as AVM obliteration, no post-SRS hemorrhage, and no permanently symptomatic radiation-induced changes.

Results: The ARUBA-eligible SM grade I-II AVM cohort comprised 232 patients (mean age, 42 years). The mean nidus volume, SRS margin dose, and follow-up duration were 2.1 cm, 22.5 Gy, and 90.5 months, respectively. The actuarial obliteration rates at 5 and 10 years were 72% and 87%, respectively; annual post-SRS hemorrhage rate was 1.0%; symptomatic and permanent radiation-induced changes occurred in 8% and 1%, respectively; and favorable outcome was achieved in 76%. Favorable outcome was significantly more likely in patients treated with a margin dose >20 Gy (83%) versus ≤20 Gy (62%; P < 0.001). Stroke or death occurred in 10% after SRS.

Conclusions: For ARUBA-eligible SM grade I-II AVMs, long-term SRS outcomes compare favorably with the natural history. SRS should be considered for adult patients harboring unruptured, previously untreated low-grade AVMs with a minimum life expectancy of a decade.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.wneu.2017.03.061DOI Listing
June 2017

International multicenter cohort study of pediatric brain arteriovenous malformations. Part 2: Outcomes after stereotactic radiosurgery.

J Neurosurg Pediatr 2017 Feb 2;19(2):136-148. Epub 2016 Dec 2.

University of Virginia, Department of Neurosurgery, Charlottesville, Virginia.

OBJECTIVE Pediatric patients (age < 18 years) harboring brain arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) are burdened with a considerably higher cumulative lifetime risk of hemorrhage than adults. Additionally, the pediatric population was excluded from recent prospective comparisons of intervention versus conservative management for unruptured AVMs. The aims of this multicenter, retrospective cohort study are to analyze the outcomes after stereotactic radiosurgery for unruptured and ruptured pediatric AVMs. METHODS We analyzed and pooled AVM radiosurgery data from 7 participating in the International Gamma Knife Research Foundation. Patients younger than 18 years of age who had at least 12 months of follow-up were included in the study cohort. Favorable outcome was defined as AVM obliteration, no post-radiosurgical hemorrhage, and no permanently symptomatic radiation-induced changes (RIC). The post-radiosurgery outcomes of unruptured versus ruptured pediatric AVMs were compared, and statistical analyses were performed to identify predictive factors. RESULTS The overall pediatric AVM cohort comprised 357 patients with a mean age of 12.6 years (range 2.8-17.9 years). AVMs were previously treated with embolization, resection, and fractionated external beam radiation therapy in 22%, 6%, and 13% of patients, respectively. The mean nidus volume was 3.5 cm, 77% of AVMs were located in eloquent brain areas, and the Spetzler-Martin grade was III or higher in 59%. The mean radiosurgical margin dose was 21 Gy (range 5-35 Gy), and the mean follow-up was 92 months (range 12-266 months). AVM obliteration was achieved in 63%. During a cumulative latency period of 2748 years, the annual post-radiosurgery hemorrhage rate was 1.4%. Symptomatic and permanent radiation-induced changes occurred in 8% and 3%, respectively. Favorable outcome was achieved in 59%. In the multivariate logistic regression analysis, the absence of prior AVM embolization (p = 0.001) and higher margin dose (p < 0.001) were found to be independent predictors of a favorable outcome. The rates of favorable outcome for patients treated with a margin dose ≥ 22 Gy vs < 22 Gy were 78% (110/141 patients) and 47% (101/216 patients), respectively. A margin dose ≥ 22 Gy yielded a significantly higher probability of a favorable outcome (p < 0.001). The unruptured and ruptured pediatric AVM cohorts included 112 and 245 patients, respectively. Ruptured AVMs had significantly higher rates of obliteration (68% vs 53%, p = 0.005) and favorable outcome (63% vs 51%, p = 0.033), with a trend toward a higher incidence of post-radiosurgery hemorrhage (10% vs 4%, p = 0.07). The annual post-radiosurgery hemorrhage rates were 0.8% for unruptured and 1.6% for ruptured AVMs. CONCLUSIONS Radiosurgery is a reasonable treatment option for pediatric AVMs. Obliteration and favorable outcomes are achieved in the majority of patients. The annual rate of latency period hemorrhage after radiosurgery for both ruptured and unruptured pediatric AVM patients conveys a significant risk until the nidus is obliterated.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2016.9.PEDS16284DOI Listing
February 2017

International multicenter cohort study of pediatric brain arteriovenous malformations. Part 1: Predictors of hemorrhagic presentation.

J Neurosurg Pediatr 2017 Feb 2;19(2):127-135. Epub 2016 Dec 2.

University of Virginia, Department of Neurosurgery, Charlottesville, Virginia.

OBJECTIVE Brain arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) are the most common cause of spontaneous intracranial hemorrhage in pediatric patients (age < 18 years). Since the cumulative lifetime risk of AVM hemorrhage is considerable in children, an improved understanding of the risk factors influencing hemorrhagic presentation may aid in the management of pediatric AVMs. The aims of this first of a 2-part multicenter, retrospective cohort study are to evaluate the incidence and determine the predictors of hemorrhagic presentation in pediatric AVM patients. METHODS The authors analyzed pooled AVM radiosurgery data from 7 institutions participating in the International Gamma Knife Research Foundation (IGKRF). Patients younger than 18 years at the time of radiosurgery and who had at least 12 months of follow-up were included in the study cohort. Patient and AVM characteristics were compared between unruptured and ruptured pediatric AVMs. RESULTS A total of 357 pediatric patients were eligible for analysis, including 112 patients in the unruptured and 245 patients in the ruptured AVM cohorts (69% incidence of hemorrhagic presentation). The annual hemorrhage rate prior to radiosurgery was 6.3%. Hemorrhagic presentation was significantly more common in deep locations (basal ganglia, thalamus, and brainstem) than in cortical locations (frontal, temporal, parietal, and occipital lobes) (76% vs 62%, p = 0.006). Among the factors found to be significantly associated with hemorrhagic presentation in the multivariate logistic regression analysis, deep venous drainage (OR 3.2, p < 0.001) was the strongest independent predictor, followed by female sex (OR 1.7, p = 0.042) and smaller AVM volume (OR 1.1, p < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS Unruptured and ruptured pediatric AVMs have significantly different patient and nidal features. Pediatric AVM patients who possess 1 or more of these high-risk features may be candidates for relatively more aggressive management strategies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2016.9.PEDS16283DOI Listing
February 2017

Stereotactic radiosurgery for cerebellar arteriovenous malformations: an international multicenter study.

J Neurosurg 2017 Sep 30;127(3):512-521. Epub 2016 Sep 30.

Department of Neurosurgery and Gamma-Knife Center, University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville, Virginia.

OBJECTIVE Cerebellar arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) represent the majority of infratentorial AVMs and frequently have a hemorrhagic presentation. In this multicenter study, the authors review outcomes of cerebellar AVMs after stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS). METHODS Eight medical centers contributed data from 162 patients with cerebellar AVMs managed with SRS. Of these patients, 65% presented with hemorrhage. The median maximal nidus diameter was 2 cm. Favorable outcome was defined as AVM obliteration and no posttreatment hemorrhage or permanent radiation-induced complications (RICs). Patients were followed clinically and radiographically, with a median follow-up of 60 months (range 7-325 months). RESULTS The overall actuarial rates of obliteration at 3, 5, 7, and 10 years were 38.3%, 74.2%, 81.4%, and 86.1%, respectively, after single-session SRS. Obliteration and a favorable outcome were more likely to be achieved in patients treated with a margin dose greater than 18 Gy (p < 0.001 for both), demonstrating significantly better rates (83.3% and 79%, respectively). The rate of latency preobliteration hemorrhage was 0.85%/year. Symptomatic post-SRS RICs developed in 4.5% of patients (n = 7). Predictors of a favorable outcome were a smaller nidus (p = 0.0001), no pre-SRS embolization (p = 0.003), no prior hemorrhage (p = 0.0001), a higher margin dose (p = 0.0001), and a higher maximal dose (p = 0.009). The Spetzler-Martin grade was not found to be predictive of outcome. The Virginia Radiosurgery AVM Scale score (p = 0.0001) and the Radiosurgery-Based AVM Scale score (p = 0.0001) were predictive of a favorable outcome. CONCLUSIONS SRS results in successful obliteration and a favorable outcome in the majority of patients with cerebellar AVMs. Most patients will require a nidus dose of higher than 18 Gy to achieve these goals. Radiosurgical and not microsurgical scales were predictive of clinical outcome after SRS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2016.7.JNS161208DOI Listing
September 2017

Early versus late arteriovenous malformation responders after stereotactic radiosurgery: an international multicenter study.

J Neurosurg 2017 Sep 23;127(3):503-511. Epub 2016 Sep 23.

Department of Neurosurgery and Gamma Knife Center, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia.

OBJECTIVE The goal of stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) for arteriovenous malformation (AVM) is complete nidus obliteration, thereby eliminating the risk of future hemorrhage. This outcome can be observed within the first 18 months, although documentation of AVM obliteration can extend to as much as 5 years after SRS is performed. A shorter time to obliteration may impact the frequency and effect of post-SRS complications and latency hemorrhage. The authors' goal in the present study was to determine predictors of early obliteration (18 months or less) following SRS for cerebral AVM. METHODS Eight centers participating in the International Gamma Knife Research Foundation (IGKRF) obtained institutional review board approval to supply de-identified patient data. From a cohort of 2231 patients, a total of 1398 patients had confirmed AVM obliteration. Patients were sorted into early responders (198 patients), defined as those with confirmed nidus obliteration at or prior to 18 months after SRS, and late responders (1200 patients), defined as those with confirmed nidus obliteration more than 18 months after SRS. The median clinical follow-up time was 63.7 months (range 7-324.7 months). RESULTS Outcome parameters including latency interval hemorrhage, mortality, and favorable outcome were not significantly different between the 2 groups. Radiologically demonstrated radiation-induced changes were noted more often in the late responder group (376 patients [31.3%] vs 39 patients [19.7%] for early responders, p = 0.005). Multivariate independent predictors of early obliteration included a margin dose > 24 Gy (p = 0.031), prior surgery (p = 0.002), no prior radiotherapy (p = 0.025), smaller AVM nidus (p = 0.002), deep venous drainage (p = 0.039), and nidus location (p < 0.0001). Basal ganglia, cerebellum, and frontal lobe nidus locations favored early obliteration (p = 0.009). The Virginia Radiosurgery AVM Scale (VRAS) score was significantly different between the 2 responder groups (p = 0.039). The VRAS score was also shown to be predictive of early obliteration on univariate analysis (p = 0.009). For early obliteration, such prognostic ability was not shown for other SRS- and AVM-related grading systems. CONCLUSIONS Early obliteration (≤ 18 months post-SRS) was more common in patients whose AVMs were smaller, located in the frontal lobe, basal ganglia, or cerebellum, had deep venous drainage, and had received a margin dose > 24 Gy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2016.7.JNS161194DOI Listing
September 2017

Stereotactic radiosurgery for Spetzler-Martin Grade III arteriovenous malformations: an international multicenter study.

J Neurosurg 2017 Mar 15;126(3):859-871. Epub 2016 Apr 15.

Department of Neurological Surgery, University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville, Virginia.

OBJECTIVE Because of the angioarchitectural diversity of Spetzler-Martin (SM) Grade III arteriovenous malformations (AVMs), the management of these lesions is incompletely defined. The aims of this multicenter, retrospective cohort study were to evaluate the outcomes after stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) for SM Grade III AVMs and to determine the factors predicting these outcomes. METHODS The authors analyzed and pooled data from patients with SM Grade III AVMs treated with SRS at 8 institutions participating in the International Gamma Knife Research Foundation. Patients with these AVMs and a minimum follow-up length of 12 months were included in the study cohort. An optimal outcome was defined as AVM obliteration, no post-SRS hemorrhage, and no permanently symptomatic radiation-induced changes (RICs). Data were analyzed by univariate and multivariate regression analyses. RESULTS The SM Grade III AVM cohort comprised 891 patients with a mean age of 34 years at the time of SRS. The mean nidus volume, radiosurgical margin dose, and follow-up length were 4.5 cm, 20 Gy, and 89 months, respectively. The actuarial obliteration rates at 5 and 10 years were 63% and 78%, respectively. The annual postradiosurgery hemorrhage rate was 1.2%. Symptomatic and permanent RICs were observed in 11% and 4% of the patients, respectively. Optimal outcome was achieved in 56% of the patients and was significantly more frequent in cases of unruptured AVMs (OR 2.3, p < 0.001). The lack of a previous hemorrhage (p = 0.037), absence of previous AVM embolization (p = 0.002), smaller nidus volume (p = 0.014), absence of AVM-associated arterial aneurysms (p = 0.023), and higher margin dose (p < 0.001) were statistically significant independent predictors of optimal outcome in a multivariate analysis. CONCLUSIONS Stereotactic radiosurgery provided better outcomes for patients with small, unruptured SM Grade III AVMs than for large or ruptured SM Grade III nidi. A prospective trial or registry that facilitates a comparison of SRS with conservative AVM management might further clarify the authors' observations for these often high-risk AVMs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2016.1.JNS152564DOI Listing
March 2017

Radiosurgery for Cerebral Arteriovenous Malformations in A Randomized Trial of Unruptured Brain Arteriovenous Malformations (ARUBA)-Eligible Patients: A Multicenter Study.

Stroke 2016 Feb 10;47(2):342-9. Epub 2015 Dec 10.

From the Department of Neurosurgery, University of Virginia, Charlottesville (D.D., R.M.S., J.P.S.); Department of Neurological Surgery, University of Pittsburgh, PA (H.K., L.D.L.); Division of Neurosurgery, Centre de recherché du CHUS, University of Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada (D.M.); Department of Neurosurgery, New York University Langone Medical Center (P.H., D.K.); Section of Neurological Surgery, University of Puerto Rico, San Juan, Puerto Rico (C.F., R.R.-M., L.A.); Department of Radiation Oncology, Beaumont Health System, Royal Oak, MI (I.S.G.); and Department of Neurosurgery, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, OH (D.S., M.A., S.M., G.H.B.).

Background And Purpose: The benefit of intervention for patients with unruptured cerebral arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) was challenged by results demonstrating superior clinical outcomes with conservative management from A Randomized Trial of Unruptured Brain AVMs (ARUBA). The aim of this multicenter, retrospective cohort study is to analyze the outcomes of stereotactic radiosurgery for ARUBA-eligible patients.

Methods: We combined AVM radiosurgery outcome data from 7 institutions participating in the International Gamma Knife Research Foundation. Patients with ≥12 months of follow-up were screened for ARUBA eligibility criteria. Favorable outcome was defined as AVM obliteration, no postradiosurgery hemorrhage, and no permanently symptomatic radiation-induced changes. Adverse neurological outcome was defined as any new or worsening neurological symptoms or death.

Results: The ARUBA-eligible cohort comprised 509 patients (mean age, 40 years). The Spetzler-Martin grade was I to II in 46% and III to IV in 54%. The mean radiosurgical margin dose was 22 Gy and follow-up was 86 months. AVM obliteration was achieved in 75%. The postradiosurgery hemorrhage rate during the latency period was 0.9% per year. Symptomatic and permanent radiation-induced changes occurred in 11% and 3%, respectively. The rates of favorable outcome, adverse neurological outcome, permanent neurological morbidity, and mortality were 70%, 13%, 5%, and 4%, respectively.

Conclusions: Radiosurgery may provide durable clinical benefit in some ARUBA-eligible patients. On the basis of the natural history of untreated, unruptured AVMs in the medical arm of ARUBA, we estimate that a follow-up duration of 15 to 20 years is necessary to realize a potential benefit of radiosurgical intervention for conservative management in unruptured patients with AVM.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/STROKEAHA.115.011400DOI Listing
February 2016

The fate of cranial neuropathy after flow diversion for carotid aneurysms.

J Neurosurg 2016 Apr 16;124(4):1107-13. Epub 2015 Oct 16.

Lyerly Neurosurgery, Baptist Health, Jacksonville, Florida;

Objective: The authors sought to determine whether flow diversion with the Pipeline Embolization Device (PED) can approximate microsurgical decompression in restoring function after cranial neuropathy following carotid artery aneurysms.

Methods: This multiinstitutional retrospective study involved 45 patients treated with PED across the United States. All patients included presented between November 2009 and October 2013 with cranial neuropathy (cranial nerves [CNs] II, III, IV, and VI) due to intracranial aneurysm. Outcome analysis included clinical and procedural variables at the time of treatment as well as at the latest clinical and radiographic follow-up.

Results: Twenty-six aneurysms (57.8%) were located in the cavernous segment, while 6 (13.3%) were in the clinoid segment, and 13 (28.9%) were in the ophthalmic segment of the internal carotid artery. The average aneurysm size was 18.6 mm (range 4-35 mm), and the average number of flow diverters placed per patient was 1.2. Thirty-eight patients had available information regarding duration of cranial neuropathy prior to treatment. Eleven patients (28.9%) were treated within 1 month of symptom onset, while 27 (71.1%) were treated after 1 month of symptoms. The overall rate of cranial neuropathy improvement for all patients was 66.7%. The CN deficits resolved in 19 patients (42.2%), improved in 11 (24.4%), were unchanged in 14 (31.1%), and worsened in 1 (2.2%). Overtime, the rate of cranial neuropathy improvement was 33.3% (15/45), 68.8% (22/32), and 81.0% (17/21) at less than 6, 6, and 12 months, respectively. At last follow-up, 60% of patients in the isolated CN II group had improvement, while in the CN III, IV, or VI group, 85.7% had improved. Moreover, 100% (11/11) of patients experienced improvement if they were treated within 1 month of symptom onset, whereas 44.4% (12/27) experienced improvement if they treated after 1 month of symptom onset; 70.4% (19/27) of those with partial deficits improved compared with 30% (3/10) of those with complete deficits.

Conclusions: Cranial neuropathy caused by cerebral aneurysm responds similarly when the aneurysm is treated with the PED compared with open surgery and coil embolization. Lower morbidity and higher occlusion rates obtained with the PED may suggest it as treatment of choice for some of these lesions. Time to treatment is an important consideration regardless of treatment modality.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3171/2015.4.JNS142790DOI Listing
April 2016

Color-coded digital subtraction angiography in the management of a rare case of middle cerebral artery pure arterial malformation. A technical and case report.

Interv Neuroradiol 2014 Dec 5;20(6):715-21. Epub 2014 Dec 5.

Department of Surgery-Neurosurgery Section, University of Puerto Rico-Medical Sciences Campus; San Juan, Puerto Rico - Neuroendovascular Surgery and Stroke Program, Puerto Rico Medical Services Administration; San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The advent of flow dynamics and the recent availability of perfusion analysis software have provided new diagnostic tools and management possibilities for cerebrovascular patients. To this end, we provide an example of the use of color-coded angiography and its application in a rare case of a patient with a pure middle cerebral artery (MCA) malformation. A 42-year-old male chronic smoker was evaluated in the emergency room due to sudden onset of severe headache, nausea, vomiting and left-sided weakness. Head computed tomography revealed a right basal ganglia hemorrhage. Cerebral digital subtraction angiography (DSA) showed a right middle cerebral artery malformation consisting of convoluted and ectatic collateral vessels supplying the distal middle cerebral artery territory-M1 proximally occluded. An associated medial lenticulostriate artery aneurysm was found. Brain single-photon emission computed tomography with and without acetazolamide failed to show problems in vascular reserve that would indicate the need for flow augmentation. Twelve months after discharge, the patient recovered from the left-sided weakness and did not present any similar events. A follow-up DSA and perfusion study using color-coded perfusion analysis showed perforator aneurysm resolution and adequate, albeit delayed perfusion in the involved vascular territory. We propose a combined congenital and acquired mechanism involving M1 occlusion with secondary dysplastic changes in collateral supply to the distal MCA territory. Angiographic and cerebral perfusion work-up was used to exclude the need for flow augmentation. Nevertheless, the natural course of this lesion remains unclear and long-term follow-up is warranted.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4295243PMC
http://dx.doi.org/10.15274/INR-2014-10086DOI Listing
December 2014

Burden of stroke in Puerto Rico.

Int J Stroke 2015 Jan 20;10(1):117-9. Epub 2014 Aug 20.

FIU Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine, Florida International University, Miami, Florida, USA.

Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death and the first cause of long-term disability in Puerto Rico. Trained staff reviewed and independently validated the medical records of patients who had been hospitalized with possible stroke at any of the 20 largest hospitals located in Puerto Rico during 2007, 2009, and 2011. The mean age of the 5005 newly diagnosed stroke patients (51·2% female) was 70 years. At the time of hospitalization, women were 4½ years older, were less likely to be married (60·2% vs. 39·9%, P < 0·001), smoked less (5·8% vs. 13·4%, P < 0·001), and had significantly higher proportion of diabetes (56·0% vs. 54·8%), hypertension (89·1% vs. 85·0%), and low density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-Chol) > 100 mg/dL (65·7% vs. 57·5%) P < 0·05. Ischemic stroke represented 75% of all types of strokes. Atrial fibrillation was mentioned in 7·9% of the medical records. The risk for dying before discharge was similar for both genders, but was 40% higher for women than for men at one-year follow-up: age-adjusted odds ratio = 1·4 (95% confidence interval = 1·2-1·5).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ijs.12350DOI Listing
January 2015

Arteriovenous fistula presenting as a failed hearing test.

Am J Otolaryngol 2014 May-Jun;35(3):449-51. Epub 2013 Dec 24.

Neurosurgery, University of Puerto Rico, San Juan, PR, USA.

Congenital arteriovenous fistulas (AVFs) result from inadequate differentiation of the vascular system during fetal development. This case report describes an AVF of the neck, which possibly manifested as noise interference during a newborn hearing-screening test by otoacoustic emissions (OAEs). This report is in compliance with the institutional review board regulations of the University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.amjoto.2013.12.010DOI Listing
December 2014

Acute neuronal injury and blood genomic profiles in a nonhuman primate model for ischemic stroke.

Comp Med 2012 Oct;62(5):427-38

Department of Neurosurgery, Caribbean Primate Research Center, Animal Resources Center, University of Puerto Rico Medical Sciences, San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The goal of this study was to characterize acute neuronal injury in a novel nonhuman primate (NHP) ischemic stroke model by using multiple outcome measures. Silk sutures were inserted into the M1 segment of the middle cerebral artery of rhesus macaques to achieve permanent occlusion of the vessel. The sutures were introduced via the femoral artery by using endovascular microcatheterization techniques. Within hours after middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO), infarction was detectable by using diffusion-weighted MRI imaging. The infarcts expanded by 24 h after MCAO and then were detectable on T2-weighted images. The infarcts seen by MRI were consistent with neuronal injury demonstrated histologically. Neurobehavioral function after MCAO was determined by using 2 neurologic testing scales. Neurologic assessments indicated that impairment after ischemia was limited to motor function in the contralateral arm; other neurologic and behavioral parameters were largely unaffected. We also used microarrays to examine gene expression profiles in peripheral blood mononuclear cells after MCAO-induced ischemia. Several genes were altered in a time-dependent manner after MCAO, suggesting that this ischemia model may be suitable for identifying blood biomarkers associated with the presence and severity of ischemia. This NHP stroke model likely will facilitate the elucidation of mechanisms associated with acute neuronal injury after ischemia. In addition, the ability to identify candidate blood biomarkers in NHP after ischemia may prompt the development of new strategies for the diagnosis and treatment of ischemic stroke in humans.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3472608PMC
October 2012
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